Daily news - 14th April 2021

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UK news

Librarians and bin men to be offered overdose training in Scots city amid drug deaths surge

Councillors in Aberdeen have approved the project to give more council workers training in using naloxone amid surging drug deaths across the country | Daily Record, UK

Covid in Wales: Different pub rules 'a bitter pill to swallow'

Different rules for the reopening of pubs in England and Wales are "a bitter pill to swallow", according to the Welsh Beer and Pub Association | BBC, UK

Covid-19: Birmingham pub drinkers 'literally loving' easing of lockdown

Drinkers said they were "literally loving" being able to enjoy their first night out at a pub in months | BBC, UK

Online cocktail promotions boosting 'wine o'clock' blamed for baby boomer boozing binge

[Limited number of free articles per week] Marketers targeting precise social groups on social and other media fuelled a huge surge in heavy drinking during lockdown | Telegraph, UK

Older drinkers risk discrimination says charity, after pub refuses to serve man without smartphone

[Limited number of free articles per week] Widower David Walters, 78, wrote to The Telegraph after he was denied a drink in a Northumberland pub that required him to use a tracing app | Telegraph, UK

Review into Jersey's medicinal cannabis licensing

Jersey's medicinal cannabis licensing is to be reviewed by a panel of politicians | ITV, UK

College of Lived Experience Recovery Organizations (CLERO) Event

April the 23rd from 1:00 – 3:30 pm GMT. The College of Lived Experience (CLERO ) is proud to be running the next event for LERO’s (lived Experience Recovery Organisations) on the 23-4-21 in the afternoon.  The On-line event will start with a Keynote speak from Dame Carol Black and then move onto sharing good practise and standards between LERO’s through breakout rooms, and what makes them key in the eco system of recovery within local communities | Recovery Connectors Group, UK

The findings from the PuP4Dads feasibility study - webinar

Tuesday 20th April 2021, 2pm, UK time. This Webinar will report on the results of a feasibility study looking at the PuP4Dads project. The Parents under Pressure (PuP) programme is a parenting intervention specifically designed for children and families with one or more parents who are dependent on alcohol or drugs. PuP4Dads component focused on involving fathers who were on opioid substitution therapy | AFI Net, UK

Alcohol Occasionals - Drinking transitions during lockdown

Wed, 28 April 2021, 12:30 – 14:00 BST. Emily Nicholls - "Understanding drinking transitions during lockdown: social inequalities, alcohol and the COVID-19 pandemic" | SHAAP, UK

County lines gang 'recruited teen in 80 minutes via Snapchat'

A teenager has told how he was groomed by criminals to sell heroin and crack cocaine after being recruited through an advert posted on Snapchat | BBC, UK


International news

Europe’s drug trade more violent than ever, says Europol

The use of violence in the illegal drugs trade has ‘escalated notably in recent years’, according to Europol’s European Union serious and organised crime assessment – EU SOCTA 2021 | DDN, UK

Breaking Baghdad: How Iraq’s crystal meth epidemic is ravaging the nation

In a country where young people who have grown up in conflict face mass unemployment and no support, drugs gangs have swept into the vacuum. From the capital to the southern city of Basra, Bel Trew finds increasing numbers of addicts – and a system that’s struggling to cope | Independent, UK

Beyond Duterte: A Legacy Of Punitive Drug Policies In The Philippines

These days, any invocation of the Philippine drug war instantly summons the figure of Rodrigo Duterte to mind | Talking Drugs, UK

Lithuanian mafia gang 'all but gone' in Ireland following garda clampdown

Gardaí have been battling the gang since 2015 | Journal, Ireland

Narcotic Drugs 2020: Estimated World Requirements for 2021 (PDF)

Global production and stocks of opium increased significantly in 2019. Opium imports, on the other hand, showed a strong decrease, from 53.5 tons (5.8 tons in morphine equivalent) in 2018 to only 11.3 tons (1.2 tons in morphine equivalent) in 2019, with one traditional importer ceasing imports altogether. The continuing low demand for the drug could signal a trend towards the eventual elimination of the drug from the international market for opiate raw materials | INCB, Austria

Generations of Albanians Lived off Cannabis Production. Can They Stop?

A drug crackdown has cut back the cultivation and trafficking of cannabis in Albania. But experts say it will take more than police raids and prosecutions to address the factors that have led whole families and villages to grow weed for decades | Balkan Insight, Serbia

Smoking cannabis significantly impairs vision, study finds

A study carried out by the University of Granada indicates that smoking cannabis significantly alters key visual functions, such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, three-dimensional vision (stereopsis), the ability to focus, and glare sensitivity | EurekAlert, USA

'Money up in smoke': The financial benefits of smoking cessation may be more motivating to people who are homeless than potential health gains

High rates of tobacco smoking among people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation exacerbate poor health outcomes and financial disadvantage. There is limited research on this population's perceptions of smoking cessation benefits or support strategies | Pub Med, USA

Variation in Cannabinoid Metabolites Present in the Urine of Adults Using Medical Cannabis Products in Massachusetts

A growing market of medical cannabis products claim to have specific Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) content, but regulation of THC and CBD content is inconsistent across states and generally weak | JAMA Network Open, USA

Psychedelic experience may not be required for psilocybin's antidepressant-like benefits

University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) researchers have shown that psilocybin—the active chemical in 'magic mushrooms'— still works its antidepressant-like actions, at least in mice, even when the psychedelic experience is blocked | Medical Xpress, USA

New Mexico Just Legalized Marijuana: Here Are the Details

The governor of New Mexico signed a bill on April 12 to legalize marijuana in the state, as well as a separate measure to expunge records for people with prior, low-level cannabis convictions | Filter Magazine, USA

Pot, water theft, and environmental harms in the US and Mexico

The government of Mexico is on the verge of legalizing cannabis for industrial, medical, and recreational purposes, legislation that would make Mexico only the third country to legalize all aspects of cannabis production and all types of the plant’s use | Brookings, USA

Genetic predisposition to schizophrenia may increase risk of psychosis from cannabis use

It has been long been known that cannabis users develop psychosis more often than non-users, but what is still not fully clear is whether cannabis actually causes psychosis and, if so, who is most at risk | EurekAlert, Canada

Street drug users fear overdoses, 'near-death experiences,' says report backing a safe supply program

‘The unregulated drug markets are not going to become safer,’ says Waterloo, Ont., drug strategy specialist | CBC News, Canada

Webinar: Introducing Breaking Free Online: An evidence-based digital behaviour change intervention to help treat Substance Use Disorders (SUD) across Ontario

Apr 16, 2021 09:30 AM in Eastern Time Canada. An overview of the provincial project, a live demonstration of the solution, testimonials from hospital, community agency and consumer with lived experience, followed by Q&A | Ontario Health, Canada

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia: key findings

Alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment agencies across Australia provide a range of services and support to people receiving treatment for their own drug use, as well as for their families and friends. These key findings present high-level information for 2019–20 about publicly funded AOD treatment services, the people they treated, and the treatment provided | AIHW, Australia

Changes on the horizon for regulation of medicinal cannabis in Australia?

Consultation processes address regulatory challenges facing Australia’s medicinal cannabis industry | Ashurst, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harry’s blog 110: A new paradigm for tobacco regulation

Traditionally, tobacco regulation has majored on controlling access to cigarettes through taxation, advertising bans and packet warnings, bans on public smoking and youth access and all the panoply of regulation to reduce the death and disease toll from the most dangerous way of consuming nicotine | NSP blog, UK

Perils of the tipping point of Big Tobacco 2.0 taking over the legal cannabis industry

Big Tobacco is increasingly poised to become a significant player in the new legal cannabis industry and potentially crowd out smaller businesses | BMJ Tobacco Control, UK

Reach Out: how Forward’s online chat service grew from an emergency pandemic response into a valuable safety net

In May 2020, Forward launched its first ever live-chat service: Reach Out. Amy Lucas, Reach Out Service Coordinator, describes how the service has grown in the past year | Forward Trust blog, UK

Psychedelics and Addiction; The Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group

Between 2019 to 2020, 117,678 people exited the drug and alcohol treatment system. While there were 104,880 individuals in treatment for alcohol during this period, it is estimated that close to 500,000 who required treatment did not receive it | CDPRG blog, UK

What’s A Syndemic? Hepatitis C Among Injection Drug Users Is An Urgent Example

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that between 2009 and 2018 rates of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the US tripled, with the highest rates in people between the ages of 20–39 years old | Health Affairs blog, USA

Drug (M)use: Drugs as a Means of Inspiration from 19th-Century Europe to 1960s America

In his 1995 book, Night, English poet and essayist Alfred Alvarez, traces the emergence of opium as a source of artistic inspiration to the Romantic Era. Since the positive effects of the drug include an immediate sense of euphoria and numbness soon followed by severe drowsiness, it is no coincidence that the narcotic became popular at a time when writers were obsessed with dreams and nightmares | Points blog, USA